1.2 Fall 2019

Week 10, Thursday, Halloween & WayV

I interviewed every third grader for their individual speaking test today. Having been the student of speaking tests in Spanish, Czech, and Korean I deeply empathize. They all tried and for the most part did very well.

I know they’ve never had a test like that but today they looked a foreign person in the eyes and could say “how old are you? I’m ten years old.” I realized how small they are, sitting across from me. And I definitely have a soft spot for Nick Jr which I’m trying to keep from interfering with grading.

G later revealed to me:
“When I was in junior high we had a foreign teacher. Forty seven years ago! That was very uncommon. I remember he lost a lot of weight in two years because we didn’t have western food at the time. He had blue eyes and my friend was afraid to make eye contact. But I never forgot him after all these years. It was a very formative experience.”

“And you later became an English teacher and American citizen!”

“Yes. So I think it’s very good for them to speak with you one on one. They’ll remember it for the rest of their lives.”

So there it is. Even if I can’t teach their classes or lead discussion, I’m a visible foreign person in their everyday life. Maybe they’ll think of me when they apply for study abroad or when they go on a business trip. Or curse me as they study for exams.

S came into lunch late and immediately said “ugh 6-3” girl I feel you. She launched into a story for the table about why and after asked me “did you understand?”

“Uh I got… boys… angry… students”

“Yes I am angry”.

She added “the family of a girl in 6-2 saw you at the talent show and said you are very beautiful”. Yeayahhh keep it coming.

English club exchanged candy they brought and watched the rest of Hocus Pocus (forgot how many virgin jokes were in it oops). After we made paper pumpkins and in the middle of my glue stick demo two second graders in costume came from the English club next door to say timidly “trick or treat” and then give me and S some candy. Even the fourth graders exclaimed “Wow so cute”. (One student also said the zombie in Hocus Pocus was cute so I’m not sure how much his endorsement is worth).

The class made these easy paper pumpkins.

Two girls in the school field showed me their diy Halloween baskets. They said trick or treat! And asked for candy. I only had raisins that G gave me yesterday so I shook a few into their hands and they gave me a chocolate in exchange.

My thrift lady has a new selection of winter wear and thankfully I didn’t have cash. Honestly her store is small but dense with an excellent selection. Two of my most useful and complimented pieces (green sweater dress, oversized gray blazer) have become staples of my closet.

As sometimes usual I rode line 7 to the Gangnam area and walked the two city blocks to my last Korean class. As unusual, I walked the slightly smaller road parallel to the six lane main road and as usual it was a whole new world. Gangnam (I found out that means south of the river) is a planned burg but you can’t stop the Koreanness: neon and restaurants and the occasional street vendor and a motorcyclist with questionable morals.

In class the Chicagoan and Canadian classmates gave me a guilt trip for not signing up for next month. Candy was involved.

On my way back to the station one of the KT peddlers yelled HI HELLO but it wasn’t the hot one I saw earlier with the neck tattoo so I kept walking.

There was a ghoulish Harry Potter gang on the train that was accompanied by the background music of WayV.

Seriously, my language corner for today is:

Listen to Love Talk by WayV on Spotify. If you need a music video, watch their new “Moon Walk” MV on YouTube. And for árt watch “Rainbow V Ten Winwin Choreography: Lovely”.

WayV is actually the Chinese subunit of a Korean group. However, with the recent… Disagreements between China and South Korea, Korean artists have not been so welcome. In response to this, one of the big music labels called SM has made subunits that sing Chinese covers or originals and market to a Chinese audience. So my suggestions are actually Chinese Pop.

This unit is made of ethnic Chinese members from the Korean group NCT (whom I’ve seen in concert 👌): As a result all of the members speak at least Mandarin and Korean, in addition to Thai, English, German, and Cantonese.

Two of the members are participating in a Korean super group (more like SM-ore money) which recently appeared on Ellen and is touring in the US. Lucas, the tall one, is not particularly good at English or Korean so when he stumbles, he speaks Chinese and Ten, who went to a British boarding school in Thailand and just learned Mandarin this year, translates to English for him.

Whenever I feel down about my Korean skills, I just watch compilations of “NCT foreign members versus Korean language” or “Ten learning mandarin”. Wholesome and spirit lifting.

(And I swear to Lucas if any of y’all say “but it’s in another language” I’m gonna lose it. You’ll listen to Despacito for an entire summer just mumbling Dorito for the entire chorus so don’t @ me.)

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